Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in ousting the Islamic State from the city of Mosul, saying, “The world did not imagine that Iraqis could eliminate Daesh [ISIL]”.
Iraqi forces engaged in “heavy” fighting with the Islamic State group on Monday as they battled to clear the last jihadist-held pockets in Mosul’s Old City, a senior commander said.
After eight months of hard urban warfare, Iraqi military forces on June 29 captured the Mosul mosque at the heart of the strategic northern city, which Daesh had declared its de facto capital.
The UN says that of the 54 residential districts in the western half of Mosul – where the Old City is located – 15 are heavily damaged and 23 moderately damaged.
A USA -led coalition began striking IS in August 2014, and the campaign eventually grew into a massive training and advising effort that has cost more than $13 billion and has some 6,000 US forces stationed at bases across Iraq. ISIS, ISIL and Daesh are alternative acronyms for the Islamic State group.
Mosul’s historic Old City has been almost reduced to rubble, including the ruins of the Al-Nuri Mosque blown up by the Islamic State last month.
During its occupation of Mosul, ISIS destroyed numerous city’s religious and cultural treasures, including the al-Nuri Mosque and the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah.
And few citizens remain in the area.
Al-Abadi also visited Mosul on Sunday, congratulating the troops on recent gains but stopping short of declaring an outright victory as clashes continued.
While welcoming the retaking of Mosul from IS by Iraqi government forces, he reminded that the people of Mosul had lived through hell on earth, enduring a level of depravity and cruelty that was nearly beyond words.
“They were really bunching civilians up and using them as human shields”, Mr Walsby said.
The U.S. funding, part of a total U.S. commitment of more than $265 million over two years, will also provide temporary, cash-for-work employment to jump-start local economies, officials said.
Plumes of smoke Monday grew larger than the strip of territory under IS control. “How can I trust now?” said Parwinder who had worked in Mosul and is currently working in Abu Dhabi. Entire families have been killed in these operations, and numerous bodies remain under the rubble to this day.
The extension includes providing training for new potential partners within the Iraqi security forces and a CC-130J Hercules aircraft for tactical airlift.
The American investigation said the building collapsed when the bomb detonated explosives secretly stored there by IS.
“I think it is in the final decision-making stages”, Townsend said, although he expected the footprint to be smaller.
IS still controls territory in three areas of Iraq – around Hawija, 130km (80 miles) south-east of Mosul, around Tal Afar, 65km west, and from Ana to Al-Qaim in the Euphrates river valley, 250km to the south-west. The group is essentially now fighting for its survival.
“The true death toll of the west Mosul battle may never be known”, Amnesty International said in a report released on Tuesday. He said he was happy the fight was over, but explained that his unit, like many others, suffered significant losses.
He said security forces were closing in but were slowed by IS snipers.
Iraqi forces, supported by the Global Coalition against Daesh, had launched an offensive to drive out the terror group out of the northern Iraqi city.